Immigration in the U.S. is an issue that affects millions, especially Hispanics. It’s an issue that affects many American-born children of immigrant parents that came here illegally in hopes for a better life. But when they get caught and deported, those children are left parent-less and suffering here just like actress Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black.
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Guerrero’s family is from Colombia and her parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1981 after fleeing from poverty and corruption in their native country. In 2001, when the actress was just 14 years old and an American citizen, her parents were deported, leaving her and her half brother here in the U.S.
She is now 29 years old and since 2014, she’s spoken publicly, first in a Los Angeles op-ed, then as an ambassador for citizenship, where she met President Barrack Obama. In May she will publish a memoir called, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, where she describes her experience with family separation, the misconceptions people have about immigrants, and more.
“I always had this feeling that I was the only one going through this, because I kept it a secret. Once I decided to use my voice in a way that could potentially help others, I found there were a lot of people like me—a lot of kids left behind,” she explains to Marie Claire magazine.
Her father worked as a dishwasher and she explains that he was always very anxious of the possibility of getting deported because he did not like being here undocumented. “I feel like there’s this misconception that immigrants come here and just don’t care about the system and paying taxes and that’s not true. My father was desperately trying to be a legal contributor to this society,” she says.